Invitation means the action of inviting someone to go somewhere or to do something according to Oxford English Dictionary. In the book of Katherine Profeta, it refers to the dancers’ intention to bring the audience into the theater and watch their performance. It is a kind of attitude the performers and choreographers have towards their relationship with the audience, not to dictate them, not to serve them, but to invite them and invite the state of “being seen” (Profeta 90).
In Profeta’s discussion on the dancer-audience dynamics, the sense of invitation is related to the dancers’ generosity towards audience. The dance should not be designed to satisfy the audience. Instead, performers can try to devote themselves into the piece and sacrifice themselves for the piece as an act of generosity. The show to audience, then, becomes a gift. Even when Ralph, the author’s collaborator, tries to manipulate the audience, it is not a simple commonsense kind of manipulation. It is to lead, guide, or shepherd the innocent spectators into the physical, emotional, and intellectual space of the dance performance. As described in the book, it is an intention or influence “beyond choreographic or dramaturgical control” (Profeta 133). By sharing with the audience what have been created on stage and letting them try to interpret it individually, the performers are already accomplishing their goal at the moment of the show.
I find this concept interesting because choreographers and performers always have to keep the audience in mind when working on their creation. How private or public the work should be and how far it should cater to the audience has always been a tricky question. Thinking in the way of inviting the audience to share and appreciate the art work rather than any other attitudes is an inspiring idea. In this way, dancers have much control over what message they want to deliver and how they deliver it through their body movements.
Profeta, Katherine. Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance. The University of Wisconsin Press.
ED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/invitation. Accessed 6 January 2018.